Local flavours take center stage at Antares
With former supermodel turned celebrity chef Sarah Todd at the helm and a stunning property with a spectacular view of the glistening Arabian sea, Antares definitely had a lot to offer in the initial stages that helped make it a force to reckon with, but 3 years after it first opened its doors to the land of sun, sand and sea, the restaurant has now evolved and is earning quite the reputation for primarily, the food they serve more than anything else. A lot of this comes down to Sarah’s love and passion for using local flavours and local produce and, of course, her soft spot for Indian food. She has travelled the length and breadth of the country in search of authentic recipes and traditional food experiences, which she aims to deliver in the most genuine yet unique ways possible in her new menu for the season. This season, Antares attempts to be as close to authentic as they can be when it comes to local flavours while elevating them with their own modern spins and a bit of western influence and to help execute that goal they have recruited Chef Kastubh Haldipur, who, with his Goan background and over a decade of experience in the industry, aims use his vast knowledge, flair for creativity and love for original, authentic flavours to help take Antares to the next level. I was quite intrigued to hear from Sarah on how keen she was to make local flavours stand out this time around while also using the same flavours and elements in other cuisines to spice things up. The excitement in her voice definitely got me charged up and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for me. I started on a light note with a very simple salad that featured kale, cranberry, walnuts, and gruyere cheese with a kokum dressing. The quite potent and tangy flavour of the kokum dressing made for a really interesting combination with the crunchy walnuts, salty cheese and slightly sweet cranberries. A delicate and simple play on different textures and flavours with a Goan twist. Sticking with the theme, I then decided to try the Chicken Cafreal Tortilla, which was yet again such a simple dish but so well thought of and well executed. Succulent chicken in a lovely cafreal masala that was spiced just right, topped with roasted cashew nuts and pomegranate in soft tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half, pick it up and take a bite of that all-time Goan favourite, albeit in a new, less messy and more convenient avatar. I could easily see this as something you’d munch on with a couple of a beers for the weekend footy game, a lovely take on the classic Chicken Cafreal. Before moving on to the main course, I must draw your attention to the wonderful starters or small plates as the restaurant likes to refer to them as. The freshly baked Turkish Bread with hummus is exceptional. As a person who’s lived more than half of his life in the Middle East, I can whole-heartedly vouch for their rendition of the dish. A beautifully crisp, yet soft bread with a creamy hummus makes it the perfect start to any meal. If you’re in the mood to go all guns blazing then by all means try their barbecue chicken with corn purée and pomegranate salsa. As I have stressed before, if there’s one thing you absolutely can’t go wrong with at Antares it’s their grilled and barbecued meats. Australians always know how to handle their meats with absolute care and perfection. It was also 3 years ago when it was announced that the Aussies surpassed the Americans in terms of meat consumed in a year. So rest assured, be it beef, lamb or chicken, you’re always assured of a juicy, tender, unforgettable experience at Antares. For the main course, I made sure I gave both, a veg and a non-vegetarian dish, the opportunity to impress and impressed I certainly was. First up was the stuffed pointed gourd in a tomato cashew sauce served with poi. Rustic and rich, the stuffed gourds lay still in a velvety, chunky sauce and for someone who isn’t that big a fan of gourds, I certainly enjoyed this. The slight natural bitterness of the gourd was masked by the stuffing and the thick tomato cashew sauce. I ended my mains with a beautifully grilled fillet of snapper accompanied by a fresh and fragrant orange beurre blanc on a bed of couscous with salted beetroot and rocket leaves. Pairing seafood with a citric element is almost always a winner and in this case it certainly was the fish was cooked beautifully and was literally melt-in-the-mouth, the dish as a whole was brilliant and I made sure there wasn’t a single morsel left to spare. Before we end with the dessert, don’t forget to try out the great range of cocktails at Antares as this is one department they have consistently been excelling in ever since the restaurant’s inception. My Top 3 picks would definitely be the Classic Spicy Mango Martini with vodka, chili, fresh mango juice and lime, the Apple Pie on the Rocks which features a cinnamon infused dark rum, caramelised apple and apple juice and the brand new Plum Kokum Martini was also something that really stood out with the combination of plum, kokum, passion fruit and vodka with a slight hint of rosemary. They all look gorgeous and certainly taste the part too. Dessert was definitely the highlight for me and with the new diet that I’ve been on for the last couple of months, to say that would mean it was definitely nothing less than special. Chocolate and Orange has always been one of my favourite combos and this was fabulous. The Layers of chocolate orange featured a chocolate fudge cake, topped with a chocolate mousse that was topped with an orange chiboust. Light, refreshing and not too sweet, there couldn’t have been a better way to end such a great meal or at least I thought so, until I saw the sun slowly dip into the ocean as the sky turned a beautiful dark orange, a beautiful sight to bring my beautiful meal to an unfortunate end.
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